Have you ever been frustrated when you read a review about a new, or very hard-to-find fragrance, that you couldn’t touch a key to smell it instantly? Of course you have. So have I.
It’s also frustrating for me to review something that’s just out, or not out yet, knowing full well none of you will have experienced it, so that there can’t be any discussion of it. Of course I can’t resist putting out that review, not only because it’s always exciting to publish a scoop but because it’s a challenge to be the first to do a write-up, without going on the impressions of my fellow bloggers. Of course there’s a risk that a few days/weeks later, I’ll wish I could go back and write another review, because I’ve thought of the whole thing from another angle or because reading other people’s impressions has shed a different light on the product. “Reading” a perfume is an activity best performed by two people, at least as far as I'm concerned, which is why I tend to answer quite at length to reader’s comments as they incite me to clarify or nuance my opinion… Something that’s not possible when I’m writing up new things.
Anyway, the very day I was bemoaning the situation, I went to collect some samples from a newish niche brand working with a highly respected perfumer, and it just so happened the owner had been thinking along the same lines. He mentioned one of my reviews that had driven him crazy, because he couldn’t smell what I’d been writing about right away, since it wasn’t launched yet.
So we came up with the following idea: organize a preview of one of his new fragrances, coming out next fall, for the readers of Grain de Musc. Here’s how it will go: next Tuesday, I’ll post a review. The first 50 people to comment will receive a sample. Two weeks after shipping, I’ll post a new entry in which all the lucky recipients will be invited to discuss the fragrance or publish a capsule review in the comments section.
So be sure to watch this space on Tuesday May 25 around 7 P.M. Paris time. That's the Central European time zone, i.e. Greenwich Meridian Time + 1 (click here for time zone converter).
PLEASE NOTE that the brand will be offering the samples and covering the shipping, but your data will remain confidential: I’ll be handling the envelopes personally. You will not be entered in the brand’s database.
Also bear in mind that the people who comment on the French version are also concerned, so that you might be, say, the 30th person to comment on the English side and yet not get a sample. I’m sorry about that, and I apologize in advance for any disappointment. I’ll go on the hour the comments are posted.
DISCLAIMER: I have no commercial relationship whatsoever to this brand (or to any other). I like the product, I have huge respect for the perfumer, and I think the operation is a fun idea. Of course, I’m sure the brand would be happy to sell more bottles as a result. That’s why brands give out samples. Going through the channel of Grain de Musc is an opportunity for them to reach a public of connoisseurs, and get feedback on a fragrance they’re clearly very confident about – otherwise, why encourage blog readers to comment and run the risk of getting flamed? They get the buzz, you get the free samples ahead of anyone else and I get to engage in a new type of discussion with my readers. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win situation. I hope you’ll agree.
Illustration by Sarah Moon.